A few days ago the obvious happened, meaning that Jason Bay had signed with the New York Mets for four years with $66 million dollars plus an option year and incentives that could lead the slugger to $80 million dollars. We knew as soon as the Red Sox went out and signed Mike Cameron and John Lackey that they had pretty much given up on re-signing Bay.
In my opinion, this was a very sad case for Jason because you have to think the only reason he joined the Mets was because it was his last option. There were surprisingly a very small amount of suitors and if Bay really wanted to play in the Queens , then he would have accepted their contract offer weeks ago.
I personally feel as though this was a dumb move on his behalf because he had a much better situation in Fenway Park because playing left field is far easier to play in Fenway opposed to the much larger Citi Field and on top of that Bay's numbers will take a decrease offensively now that he is in a much bigger ballpark.
Anyways all that really matters is that Bay will not be suiting up in a Red Sox uniform next season, so how does that affect the Red Sox?
Obviously the Sox take a hit when it comes to their offense because now we are not relying on a young 31-year-old player who has proved he can play in Fenway; rather we have defensive specialist Mike Cameron, who is 37 years of age. His numbers offensively, while solid, are not anything special enough to be a core member of the midst of their lineup.
Those in the Red Sox front office have claimed that now the Sox can compete solely on strong defense and solid pitching, alongside a decent offense, but I can't buy that they can compete with a Yankees team that has all of the above qualities.
We also hear how Mike Lowell, David Ortiz , and JD Drew are just destined for turnaround years this season, especially with both Lowell and Ortiz in the last year of their contracts, but I think we will get exactly what we got last year from both men when it comes to their production in the lineup. They can put up 25 home runs and knock in 100 runs, but they are not what they were in 2007.
So who will lead this team offensively? Right now the Opening Day lineup looks like this (obviously projected by yours truly):
CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
2B: Dustin Pedroia
C: Victor Martinez
3B: Kevin Youkilis
DH: David Ortiz
RF: JD Drew
LF: Mike Cameron
3B: Mike Lowell
SS: Marco Scutaro
To be honest, I find that a solid lineup, but adding someone such as Adrian Beltre really would be a boost opposed to Mike Lowell or David Ortiz at this stage in their careers. Beltre hasn't had the best few years in Safeco, but I think his numbers took a big drop offensively due to playing in Safeco. He is still 31 years of age and would fit well into the lineup.
The Sox don't need a ton left in their lineup to compete with New York in my eyes, but it would be great if we could get a cheap bat off the market such as Beltre or Adam LaRoche who will not be getting the contracts they've demanded over this past offseason (three years, $30 million). I see both men settling with two year deals worth somewhere between $14-$18 million.
What do you think? Are the Sox good as they are now or do we need a bat to solidify ourselves as not only contenders to win the AL East against the Yankees and always dangerous Tampa Bay Rays, but can we compete in the Wild Card with the Angels , Mariners, Rangers, and Rays all potentially looking for a spot in the playoffs?
DJ Rallo is the founder of Boston Sox Journalism, a new young site dedicated to Boston Red Sox coverage. Check it out, here.